PAOC Spotlights

Explained: Radiative Forcing

Thu September 30th, 2010
MIT News Office - David L. Chandler

When there's more energy radiating down on the planet than there is radiating back out to space, something's going to have to heat up. In the first in a series of climate science primers, MIT news speaks to PAOC's Ron Prinn, TEPCO Professor of Atmospheric Science...

When people talk about global warming or the greenhouse effect, the main underlying scientific concept that describes the process is radiative forcing. And despite all the recent controversy over leaked emails and charges of poorly sourced references in the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, the basic concept of radiative forcing is one on which scientists — whatever their views on global warming or the IPCC — all seem to agree. Disagreements come into play in determining the actual value of that number.